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Hidden Gems of Dublin

While abroad in Dublin, I initially fell into hitting the tourist places in the city, but as I continued to live there, I found some pretty unique places that I will never forget. While the tourist spots are fine to check out, I urge you to branch out and discover new places everyday, whether it is after or before class. Navigating the streets is difficult at first, but getting lost is the best way to learn and find new places!

Here are some places that I experienced while on my CEA Study Abroad program in Dublin!

 Irish dancing is promoted throughout the city, even on the streets outside local restaurants and shoppes.

1. Irish Dancing

Initially, I was a bit hesitant to go on this outing. I’m far from being coordinated enough to dance; I’m lucky if I don’t trip while walking to class. However, this was one of the best experiences I had while abroad. I struggled so much to keep up with locals and the instructors, but they were supportive and quick to help. This was something I would have never thought to do while abroad, but I had an amazing time and got to meet a lot of people. So whether you have two left feet or are an expert—I urge you to dance.

2. LittleAss Burrito Bar
If you’re missing your Chipotle fix while in Dublin—have no fear. This corner bar on Dawson Street allows you to indulge in your Mexican cravings. The eccentric blue building properly represents their unique burrito combinations. It is a small compact restaurant (hence the name) but given the quality of its food, no one has a problem standing around for this place. And on top of that, they have a sweet student deal if you flash your student ID—win/win right? Whether your on the fly to class or headed to Stephens Green, LittleAss Burrito bar is the place to hit.

 The eccentric menu matches this bar’s distinct flavors and combinations—while abroad, break out of your comfort zone while hunkering down on a burrito.

3. Cobblestone Pub
This proper pub was a block away from my flat in Smithfield. However, I hadn’t learned of it until my last few nights while in Dublin. This pub offers authentic Irish music from locals and an assortment of drinks to choose from. The music and people you'll meet at Cobblestone are true Dubliners—always open to chat and genuinely interested in sharing stories. So get away from the craziness that is Temple Bar, and get a taste of an authentic Irish pub at the Cobblestone.
 The worn exterior resembles the true Irish culture you’ll experience inside while enjoying a Guinness

4. Hugh Lane Gallery
I am an art geek—so naturally this was a must-go for me. This gallery is packed with pieces and exhibits. They created a rendition of Francis Bacon’s studio in the gallery itself and allowed you to experience his creative process. The variety of pieces and styles in this gallery is phenomenal and creates an ambiance that makes you feel like you aren’t in a gallery but rather travelling through time. For that reason, whether you enjoy art or not, I highly recommend checking this place out.
 This was an artist’s representation of a shrine that the viewer could walk around and interact. Hugh Lane Gallery contains several unique pieces like the one above.

5. Phoenix Park
While this place is a little too big to be a “hidden” gem, it made the list because of all the “hot spots” in the park. Every day I ran through the park and took a new path each time just to get a proper feel for the entire park. There are some historic sites through the park like the Papal Cross, where Pope John Paul II gave a sermon to over 1 million people. In addition to the historic sites, there are open fields, walking and cycling paths available, and a list of monthly events on their website. There is always something going on—if you are looking for a pick up game of football or just a quite place to read a book, Phoenix Park is the place to be.
 The enormity of the cross is breathtaking, if you get a chance, stand below it and just raise your head in awe.
 The panoramic barely does Phoenix Park justice. The park is huge; however, this is only a portion of it.

6. Smithfield Square
Right across the street from the Jameson Distillery is Smithfield Square. Like Phoenix Park, this place always has something going on, especially for evening events. On the way home, I would walk through the square just to see what was going on that evening. Some nights they had art exhibits up, or if you're lucky (like I was), they have a jumbo screen playing the nights football game. Regardless of where you are staying in Dublin, follow their Twitter account to keep up on events happening in the square.
 Smithfield Square is always lit with these vibrant colors, matching the Square’s festive nature during weekly events.

Savannah Tollefson is a CEA alumna (Dublin Summer 2014) and current Alumni Ambassador at at the University of Pittsburgh.

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